A Gospel With a Hole or a WHOLE Gospel? Does the Gospel of the Bible Really Have a Hole in it?

A Brief Look at the Book, The Hole in Our Gospel, Nashville:  Thomas Nelson, 2009, 2010, by Richard Stearns

Recently, I was given a copy of a best-selling “Christian” book entitled, The Hole in Our Gospel:  The Answer that Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World.  The author is Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S.A.  My instant reaction upon reading the title, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” was OUTRAGE!  How dare this author declare that the beautiful saving gospel of Christ Jesus, of God’s magnificent magnanimous loving offering of his only begotten Son to die IN OUR PLACE FOR OUR SINS ON THE CROSS, the good news of salvation, the blessed hope declared in the Bible could in any way be deficient?  What a slur, what a terrible affront, I thought!  I read on to see if some way, somehow, I could be mistaken.  Perhaps Stearns didn’t really mean it that way.  Perhaps he just used the title simply to kindle some attention.  Maybe he will explain his way out of the title.  Sadly, he meant what he said and he expanded upon his position. 

I will cite a few quotations from the book to demonstrate the objective of the author, but first let me state that as a relief organization, World Vision has done much good around the world in helping to alleviate starvation, illiteracy and poverty.  I have no beef with that organization.  I have a number of family members who have supported World Vision children.  Second, let’s look at how the Bible defines the Gospel and later we can compare Stearns’ “gospel” with the Biblical Gospel.

The Gospel of the Bible

Ephesians 2:8-9:  (We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.)  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”

John 3:16-17:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Acts 16:30-31 “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve; after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen by James; then of all the apostles; and last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

Richard Stearns’ Lordship Salvation/Social Welfare “gospel”:

Quotations from the book The Hole in Our Gospel:

P. 1 “I am a Christian—perhaps you are too.  But what does that mean exactly?  To even be Christians, we must first believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  That in itself is no small idea.  If it is true, it changes everything, because if Christ is God, then all that He said and did is deeply significant to how we live our lives.  So we believe.  But God expects more.  . . .  What is God asking for, really from you and me?  Much more than church attendance.  More than prayer too.  More than belief, and even more than self-denial.  God asks us for everything.  He requires a total life commitment from those who would be His followers.”  [My comment:  This brand of justification is called “commitment salvation.”  It is characteristic of many lordship salvation teachers like Francis Chan.]

P. 2  “The idea behind The Hole in Our Gospel is quite simple.  It’s basically the belief that being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God.  It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.  If your personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then your faith—and mine—has a hole in it.”  [My comment:  Standard addition of works added to faith to truly be saved, common to all lordship faith teaching.]

p. 3 “Belief is not enough.  Worship is not enough.  Personal morality is not enough.  And Christian community is not enough.  God has always demanded more.”

P. 5 “The whole gospel is a vision for ushering in God’s kingdom—now, not in some future time, and here, on earth, not in some distant heaven.”  [A “Kingdom Now” gospel]

P. 15 “So how can our gospel have a hole in it?  As I mentioned in the prologue, the word gospel literally means glad tidings, or good news.  It is shorthand, meant to convey the coming of the kingdom of God through the Messiah.  . . .  The amazing news of the gospel is that men and women, through Christ’s atoning death, can now be reconciled to God.  But the good news Jesus proclaimed had a fullness beyond salvation and the forgiveness of sins; it also signified the coming of God’s kingdom on earth.  This new kingdom, characteristics of which were captured in the Beatitudes, would turn the existing world order upside down.”  [Comment:  Stearn’s reveals his perceived deficiency in the true Gospel of the Bible]

p. 17 “More and more, our view of the gospel has been narrowed to a simple transaction, marked by checking a box on a bingo card at some prayer breakfast, registering a decision for Christ, or coming forward during an altar call.  . . . we just had to get them to pray the ‘sinner’s prayer’ and then move on to the next potential convert.  In our evangelistic efforts to make the good news accessible and simple to understand, we seem to have boiled it down to a kind of ‘fire insurance’ that one can buy.  Then, once the policy is in effect, the sinner can go back to whatever life he was living—of wealth and success, or of poverty and suffering.  As long as the policy is in the drawer, the other things don’t matter as much.  We’ve got our ‘ticket’ to the next life.  There is a real problem with this limited view of the kingdom of God; it is not the whole gospel.  Instead, it’s a gospel with a gaping hole.”  [My comment:  It only has a gaping hole because you misdefine and caricaturize the TRUE GOSPEL of the Bible, as laid out at the beginning of this article.  Mischaracterizing and belittling the Christian gospel is the standard operating procedure of lordship faith teachers.  John MacArthur, in particular, frequently caricaturizes and berates the biblical Christian gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  His book The Gospel According to Jesus is chock-full of such slanderous false statements.]

p. 21 “When we talk today about proclaiming the gospel, we typically mean evangelism, a verbal proclamation of the good news of salvation and how it can be received by anyone by asking God’s forgiveness and committing his or her life to Christ.  But this is not the whole gospel.”  [My comment:  This statement of Stearns’ is stunning!  I am left in disbelief and his callous disregard for and rejection of the Biblical gospel.]

Final note:  I could go on and on with more quotations from this unbiblical book, this declaration of a false gospel, but I think that you have seen enough to get the point!  Your comments, as always, are welcome.




62 responses to “A Gospel With a Hole or a WHOLE Gospel? Does the Gospel of the Bible Really Have a Hole in it?

  1. Nor does it stand the test of time, as they produce a movie with Oprah.

  2. Jason, as they celebrate World Water Day, they have a gospel that doesn’t hold water.

  3. Their gospel is the one with a hole. No death, burial and resurrection. No grace. Just social action. That is what it feels like to be around these folks. I used to believe in that stuff. But my mind was corrupted from the simplicity of Christ. If there is no cross, there is no reconciliation

  4. I got an email from Samaritan’s Purse” today requesting that I give water, save lives, share the gift gospel.

    My comment: Samaritan’s Purse is run by the Graham folks. Any “gospel” they share is likely to be a false gospel.

  5. I saw an article today at Fox News from Richard Stearns about how to solve the world’s water problem.

    I noticed that he had written a sequel to his book entitled “Unfinished: Filling the Hole in our Gospel.”

    God did not leave any holes in the gospel. Any “holes in our gospel” were put there by Lordship “salvstionists,” including those who think that social and environmental activism is a requirement for having eternal life, or providing evidence that one has eternal life.

  6. Paul Bauer & Joe Snyder thanks for mentioning those charities/missionaries.

  7. Thanks John

    I choose not to donate to WV!!!

    I quickly perused WV web site and the entire content was about donating and the social Gospel — to change the world and make it a better place for the children. “The children” is always a productive gimmick for LSers.. They talk about “working faith and faith in action” so it appeals to most religions. Ecumenicism at its worst. No Statement of faith that I could find and no Gospel.

    Very interesting… they’re still pumping for money, this time with a threat. However not much of a threat when 99% of mainstream religious folks would say, “I believe” as long as they don’t have to define “believe.”

    Maybe they are filling the empty bellies of some children in far away places and that is good… but without a clear Gospel these kids will still be hopeless eternally. Why would anyone who knows and believes the Gospel donate to a group who probably does not even know or preach it,.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  8. Jack, I just saw one of World Vision’s TV ads. It concluded with: “If you believe, donate now!”

    I suppose that means if one chooses not to donate to this group, he is not a believer.

  9. How many will have a problem with them is a question to consider. And funny, some of the dominionists or activists likely will speak up, and many Calvinists as well. But they are frauds calling out frauds, and sadly in the end, they will all fall short of His glory if they have not repented and believed the gospel…

  10. Of course, “World Vision” is now under fire for openly supporting homosexual marriage.

    Their foray into the “social gospel” lie just demonstrated that they were never of the truth. And yet only NOW are others coming out and saying, oh, they’re obviously false teachers.

    Why didn’t anyone examine their false gospel years ago, and come to that same conclusion then? Why did they have to endorse homosexual marriage, to be proven frauds?

  11. Peter the better term for the idea you are saying, instead of cheap with grace the word free says what grace is so many times better.
    cheap still implies there is a cost for the person.
    when you look into the Bible you will find that eternal life is free no cost at all

  12. Yes, God’s grace, the most costly gift ever in eternity, freely given, and only freely received, not one iota can we earn. A markdown at a store when you buy something that once was pricey is cheap, but something that is beyond value, that is given to us as a free gift, is completely different.

    Welcome Peter, glad to meet you. I too, like John, shudder at the term, cheap or even some use the word greasy with it, and I just can hardly stand to hear to hear any of those words attached to the free gift of life that cost my dear Savior His life… Also freely given for us all…

  13. Peter, welcome and thanks for your comments.

    I understand that you do not use the term “cheap grace” maliciously, but we object to its use for at least these reasons. First, as you said, Grace was very costly for God. Second, it is often used by Lordship “salvationists” (and others who try to mix grace with works for salvation) to denigrate believers. Third, it is used by Lordship “salvationists” to draw non-believers after their false gospel of works.

  14. Peter Spadzinski

    Just came across your site. I found it to be very stimulating and must say that I believe that you are a defender of the Good News, as proclaimed by God, announced by the angelic host and ultimately provided through Jesus Christ. My late mother-in-law, a powerful orator and evangelist, used to use expressions like the “naked Gospel” and she would often repeat the quote, “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling”.
    I am so glad that I can feed the poor, extend help to the needy, not because I have to earn my salvation, but because of my “love for Jesus”.
    Receiving his free gift requires me to humbly accept. This is indeed cheap grace (for me, because after all it is a gift), but it cost God EVERYTHING! Praise His wonderful name!!!

  15. Hello Paul,

    Thanks for commenting today. Yes, the presentation of the simple straightforward grace gospel message is what this site and its regular contributors are all about.

    Congratulations on your year completed with SIM!


  16. Hello again. just to update, the Lord led us instead of Bolivia, to a much larger sphere of ministry serving in the Treasury Department at SIM USA, with outreach and involvement worldwide. We are involved vicariously with SIM missisonaries. Over and over again we hear from them saying “. . . we could not be here doing what we do without you.” So, it is a very gratifying and fulfilling work we are called to serve in, and such a blessing. I have been here for a year now after ten years on loan to HCJB Global. As I scrolled down through this thread, I saw a lady questioning the lack of use of the words of Jesus to say belief is enough for salvation. I wanted to share words from Jesus Himself, by pointing to the passage I just read in my devotions: John 8:24 “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” NLT from BibleGateway.com In this verse, Jesus is not adding to the requirement for belief alone. I don’t see why people are adding to his words by requiring more than what came directly from Jesus lips. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.” In Acts 16:31.KJV nothing more is added to that by the apostles.

  17. Hi Jim, welcome!

    Thanks for your research and for your astute comments on Stearns. His approach, like Chan, Platt and others seems to be to “guilt” people into serving God and giving to missions. Very manipulative, in my opinion. Thanks again for joining us today!

  18. If you read Stearns book further, you’ll see where he boasts of his “Letter from Jesus” where he takes several passages out of context and then pastes them together in a hypothetical letter to Christians of what Stearns believes He really meant in the recorded Gospel. Stearns defends this recklessness saying, “I realize this violated every rule of sound biblical exegesis, but I think you’ll agree that it works—it speaks to us with truth and with bluntness.” (pg. 223).

  19. Pingback: Joyously Free From the Burden, Oppression and Depression of Lordship “Salvation” and Calvinism. | Notes From A Retired Preacher

  20. Thank you, John G.

    We are happy to have you aboard and appreciate your enthusiasm and comments. Please continue to pray the Lord will bless and increase His ministry here — to reach many more folks with His Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Christ alone.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  21. John Gregory

    God bless you Jack! I love your site and plan to visit often!
    Thank You,
    John Gregory

  22. John Gregory

    Thank you for the info!
    John Gregory

  23. John Gregory

    Could & would you please educate me concerning Miles Stanford? I have been reading some of his writings on Pauline Dispensationalism, & I agree with most of his work. That said, I do find him calvinistic. But his works on the aspect of Pauline Dispensationalism are the best that I have seen. I am only seeking the truth. I am NOT writing this with debate in mind. I do follow your site every day, and I have been blessed! If you are able to direct me to a web-site that you find better suited to what I am looking for, please let me know. I have studied Chafer’s Theology Texts, all eight volumes, but I would like to go futher.
    God bless,
    John Gregory

  24. John and Jimmy,

    Interesting conversation.

    If you look way back in some of my articles years ago you may find I recommended Stanford for what I found to be a cogent quote about some particular doctrine.

    However, as I investigated (and was advised to check him further), I found Stanford’s errors to be troubling and counter to scripture. Therefore, I no longer recommend or link to his articles.

    Jimmy, you said, Moreover, we won’t fall into the potential satanic trap of dismissing one truth because the author of that truth holds an error someplace else.

    I must say, I would look for a Biblical Truth before I would quote a truth from one who may pervert the Gospel message in another place. I would not dismiss the Truth — but I would dismiss and avoid quoting the erroneous teacher.

    Example: Spurgeon… I would never recommend and link to his messages that may be “clear” for fear such would assume my recommendation of the teacher and his general theology. That is confusing at best and counter to the Gospel of Grace at its worst.

    The Gospel is too precious to see it perverted by error, thereby subjecting babes in Christ to an unnecessarily confusing Two-Handed doctrine – on the one hand, sound and on the other hand un-Biblical.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  25. Jimmy, I didn’t remember that you were in on that conversation. It was not my intent to offend you with my remarks. And yes, you should take all that I, or anybody, says with a grain of salt.

  26. John,

    I’m well aware of Stanfords inconsistent communication of saving repentance. You must not recall I was in on that conversation. Nevertheless, this issue has no bearing on what Bruce and I are discussing. Let’s be careful to not “through the baby out with the bath water.” A person can be right on one issue, and wrong on the next. In fact, I’d say ALL of us probably fall into that category. Should I then be taking all that you say “with a grain of salt”?

  27. Jimmyorourke, I noticed the link above was written by Miles Stanford. I would take articles by Miles Stanford with a grain of salt. His personal testimony included a healthy serving of “turn from sins for salvation”. I know his articles are prominently featured at Grace Family Journal, but none that contain this errant teaching.

  28. jimmyorourke


    Thank you for your thoughts! Your statement, “The synoptic gospels speak largely about discipleship” is how I’ve always felt too. That said, I’m beginning to have second thoughts as to WHO this “discipleship” is directed to. I appreciate you being candid with your reply, as it helps me clearly understand the different views within the various camps of dispensationalism. I’m at present trying to weigh the merits of each in light of Scripture.


  29. Hi Jimmy,

    You are correct in your assumption that Stearns teaches a kingdom now/Lordship Salvation message. His book is akin to Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love,” as well as David Platt’s book “Radical.” All three promote a radical LS “gospel.” The article that you cite makes a strong pitch for a dispensational understanding of Scripture. It decries the excesses and failings of LS and Covenant theology. I applaud these emphases. But I felt that in doing so the author went too far; he seemed to set the four gospels in opposition to Pauline theology. I don’t view the two as in opposition to one another. The synoptic gospels speak largely about discipleship; LS writers and teachers regularly missapply these texts as if they are dealing with salvation. This causes a muddying of the waters by melding justification with sanctification. The Gospel of John clearly gives out a salvation message and I don’t view it as a different “gospel” than what Paul taught. John 3:16-18 goes hand in hand with Paul’s gospel declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. So, I would say that although the article you cite makes many good points on a dispensational understanding and speaks clearly against LS theology, nevertheless, it goes too far in bifurcating the gospel.

  30. jimmyorourke


    I’ve never heard of Stearns, or read his book, but it’s clear that he a) has an infatuation with the Gospel of the Kingdom and b) does not want his readers to know about the Gospel of Grace.

    Along these lines, would you mind giving me your opinion on the following aticle?:


    Could it be that Lordship Salvation is the Gospel of the Kingdom under a different name?

    Thanks for your thoughts,

  31. Hello Joe,

    Thanks for the mission recommendation. I was not familiar with them, but I found their belief statement to be succinct and solid.

    In case anyone is interested, here is GFA’s statement of Christian beliefs:

    Doctrinal Statement
    We Believe…

    That the Bible is the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God. It is the complete revelation of His will for salvation and the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

    In one God, Creator of all things, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that these three are co-eternal and of equal dignity and power.

    In the deity of Jesus Christ; His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit; His virgin birth; His sinless life; His substitutionary death on a cross; His bodily resurrection; His ascension to the right hand of the Father; and His personal, imminent return.

    That man was created by and for God; that by man’s disobeying God, every person incurred spiritual death, which is separation from God, and physical death as a consequence; and that all people are sinners by nature and practice.

    The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins and that all who believe in Him are declared righteous because of His sacrificial death and are, therefore, in right relationship with God.

    In the present ministry of the Holy Spirit indwelling all believers and thus enabling and empowering the life and ministry of the believer.

    In the bodily resurrection of everyone who has lived, the everlasting blessedness of those in right relationship with God, and the everlasting punishment of those who have rejected God’s forgiveness in His Son.

  32. In reply to a couple of posts above, the very best sponsor a child organization I know, with a powerful gospel message is GFA, Gospel for Asia. The managers live a poor life, there are no “gleaming headquarter buildings” and they preach tirelessly the message of salvation by faith in India and surrounding countries. you support the kids through “bridges of hope” child centers. blessings, Joe

  33. Pingback: Tricks and Lies of Lordship “Salvation” and Other Perversions of Free Grace | Notes From A Retired Preacher

  34. Thank you Bruce for yor comeback. I did not know that Courson is a Calvinist. It was Chuck Smith that fired my nephew for teaching Calvinism in the Church where my nephew was preaching.
    Thank you for your ministry & web-site.
    John Gregory

  35. Hi John:

    Great to have you join us today. Regarding Calvary Chapel preachers, they’re kind of a mixed bag. I know of one well-known CC pastor (retired?) who used to be in Oregon, who is a Calvinist, John Courson. To the credit of the founder of the movement, Chuck Smith, Chuck has spoken out clearly against Calvinist Tulip teachings. He even endorsed Dave Hunt’s expose of Calvinism, “What Love is This?” Maybe this is why he has been accused of being an Arminian, but I see no evidence of that. If you read the original Calvary Chapel statement of faith (or whatever they call it), it states that the CC pastors are not generally supposed to speak out against other Christian leaders. There can be a danger there, however, because some preachers NEED to be called out for errant teaching and unbiblical doctrine. I am not a fan of Smith’s preaching largely because his pacing is much too slow, but I do consider him to be biblically sound, at least from the sermons that I have heard. I have noticed that most of the CC pastors preach a longgggg sermon, often well over one hour. Their approach is always verse by verse expository preaching, which is fine. Some of them have some good things to say. My favorite is David Guzik (a good Bible teacher); he is currently a professor at the Calvary Chapel College of Germany.

    Regarding the Charismatic/tongues emphasis, mentioned by Jack, I hear that it exists (or is allowed) but is not strongly promoted. I can’t remember ever hearing a CC sermon that pushed speaking in tongues. Maybe someone who attends a CC church regularly can address that issue more clearly.

  36. I was raised and became a Christian in a Sourthern Baptist Church in Okla. I moved west to California in 66. Worked in a steel mill for 42 Years, and then retired. Most of that time my wife & I attended Baptist Churches.
    My wife attends a Southern Baptist Spanish Church that her father started in 1991. He died in 1999 at the age of 100. I do not speak Spanish. So I am a member of Calvary Chapel in my town. The Calvary Chapels are not all the same. The one I attend does not practice speaking in or with other tongues. Even though Calvary Chapel came out of the Charismatic movement, a lot of the different churches no longer practice Charismatic teachings.
    The Church that I attended, has a Bible College that teaches courses that are in Baptist Bible Colleges! WE do not over-emphasize spiritual gifts to the exclusion of biblical teaching. We also reject Five-point Calvinism and positive confession (the faith movement). The main difference is in Church Government. But I will say that most of our texts we use in our College are written by Conservative scholars.
    God bless, John Gregory

  37. John,

    My wife has had some experience with Calvary Chapel folks and they generally are allowed to “speak with other tongues” and other Charismatic teachings.. at least they don’t discourage it.

    A notable exception is a Christian Lawyer friend in Southern CA who attends the original Calvary Chapel at San Jose, CA. He has a Statement of Faith on his Attorney web site.. Seems very clear and he changed some of his questionable statements as he and I corresponded.

    He is Matthew Tozer (and he’s not sure he is related to AW Tozer, the great preacher).

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. Jack & Marcella, My nephew is an ordained Preacher from Calvary
    Chapel. He was fired from one Church for trying to bring in Calvinism, and he caused another Church to split, which later closed. When he came to my wife’s Church, I informed him to stay away from Calvinistic false teachings.
    I have councelled with him, & he has made some progress. But there are times when he really slips back into his old Calvinistic jargon.
    It is not easy to break free from the strangle hold that R.C. Sproul & etc.
    other Calvinists have on him. He still studies from their commentaries, study-guides, & articles. I will continue to try to guide him with love.
    John Gregory

  39. Hi, John, I certainly will pray for you and Moises. What do you mean when you say, “He has lost two Churches allready”? Please pray for me because I am still looking for a church to attend. I’ve found several that promote John MacArthur (lordship salvation), and Calvinism. Some state in their statement of faith that salvation is not through works, yet the Pastor preaches on works, and the church doctrine is based on works.

  40. John,

    Thanks for dropping back in.. and we will pray for Moises.. Believe me, I know how hard it is to get one who has been steeped in Calvinism to see the truth.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  41. This is one of my best sites. I was out of town for two days.
    Good to be back. I have a nephew that I am trying to pull out of
    Calvinism! He has lost two Churches allready. He agrees with me concerning the errors of Calvinism, but he still slips back into the old
    Calvinistic double/speak. I do grow weary! Please pray for him, his
    name is Moises. And pray for me to have wisdom & not to give up on him!
    God bless, John Gregory

  42. Clark,

    Thanks for visiting again. It has been a while since we heard from you.

    Bruce is our wonderful new Blog Editor (he a wonderful Bible Scholar). I think he supplied a great answer about Stearn’s book and I agree.

    I pray that you and your family are doing well..

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  43. Hi Clark:

    Thanks for joining us today. Thank you, too, for your comments.

    I appreciate that you are trying to give the author Stearns the benefit of the doubt in assessing his motives. After all, feeding the poor, stamping out illiteracy, bringing clean drinking water to third-world nations, providing for global medical needs are ALL GOOD THINGS! None of us will argue with this fact. BUT, these things are NOT THE GOSPEL!

    As you read through his book or even the quotations which were cited above, it becomes quite clear that Stearns was indeed referring to the gospel of the Bible in his misdefining of the true gospel. From the review above:
    [My comment: It [the gospel] only has a gaping hole because you misdefine and caricaturize the TRUE GOSPEL of the Bible, as laid out at the beginning of this article. Mischaracterizing and belittling the Christian gospel is the standard operating procedure of lordship faith teachers. John MacArthur, in particular, frequently caricaturizes and berates the biblical Christian gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. His book “The Gospel According to Jesus” is chock-full of such slanderous false statements.]

  44. Could it be that Sterns isn’t criticizing the Biblical gospel but rather some Christians treatment of it? We are certainly called to “rightly divide the word of truth.” We need to live in a way that is faithful to the “good news” that we proclaim. Christians need to share the whole gospel with the whole world, not just focus on the parts we enjoy or think we’ve done well. I could be wrong, but it seems to me this author is calling in to question what some “Christians” are doing and calling it the gospel, not saying the Gospel of our Lord and Savior has a hole in it.

  45. Hi Marcella,

    Interesting material. I was not aware that the social (welfare) “gospel” went back that far historically. I found it fascinating that one of your articles attributes the origin of the movement to Marxist Collectivism [what we would call “Communism” in more recent times]. I guess that this fact shouldn’t really surprise me, however.

    Thanks for the information,

  46. John,
    I did some quick research on the internet to see when the social gospel originated. Rev. Walter Rauschenbusch, a Pastor of a German Baptist Church in New York City in the later 1800s, is called the father of the social gospel movement in America. Here are a couple of websites about him.



  47. My memory is fading, would you or could you tell me when did this social gospel first appear? It has been around for a long time, but I do not know its origin. I do believe in giving! But I give to God first. Thank you & God bless you all. John Gregory

  48. Christina,

    Thanks for dropping by — and we are happy you are interested in understanding the truth..

    Bruce, in his article above, quoted Jesus Christ Himself in John 3:16. And then by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 — Those quotes (plus many more) are the Gospel.

    And then we read in Acts 4:10,12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. …. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
    The Name Jesus = Jehoshua or Jehovah Yeshua meaning Jehovah Saves.

    There is no salvation of any kind in good deeds, kind works, feeding the poor, adopting kids etc. NO works help the complete and finished salvation offered freely by Jesus Christ.

    Salvation is ours and complete when we believe/trust in Jesus Christ alone as our Savior… and any message otherwise (such as Stearns) is contrary to the Gospel and accursed.
    Galatians 1:8
    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    Thanks for asking for clarification. I pray this helps.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  49. Christina Hebert

    I think that Sterns’ and others are using Jesus’ words and actions as their gospel, not a current established theology. This differs from the ‘biblical gospel’ you assert from grace theology. The scriptures you listed for the ‘correct gospel’ lack quotes from Jesus (as given by the gospels).

    I don’t mean to offend but merely to understand.

  50. Hi Paul,

    We are all praying for your decision. I’m convinced that God will give you clear leading.

  51. Hello, thanks for the kind remarks. We began our service full time in Bolivia in 1994. After 7 years there as an Area Treasurer, the Lord brought us back to the USA and re-directed our efforts on-loan from SIM to HCJB in Elkhart, Indiana where I have been serving as Finance Manager. SIM Bolivia is considering officially asking us to return in their Bolivia Advisory Council meetings beginning Thursday. Please pray we continue to follow the Holy Spirit as our Guide. God bless, Paul.Bauer@sim.org

  52. Paul,

    I meant to apologize that your comment was delayed by moderation. and I did not catch it right away. It has two URL links thus moderation happens automatically with two.. One passes OK.

    Thanks again for visiting.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  53. Paul,

    Welcome to our place, especially that you are in the mission field spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you mind telling us where you serve these two missions so we may pray for you?

    I have been familiar with HCJB for many years and happy to hear they are still preaching the uncompromising, non-ecumenical Gospel message. My wife was favorably familiar with SIM when it was Sudan Interior Mission.

    We appreciate your visiting and letting us know what you are personally doing in the field.

    Wouldn’t be nice if we could encourage folks to drop the false World Vision and support the two missions with which you are affiliated.

    Your admonition applies to all preachers — they should “read the end of Revelation regarding the fate of those who add or subtract from God’s word.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  54. Pearl, I am affiliated with two fine missions agencies. I am happy to recommend you check them out. http://www.SIM.org and http://www.HCJBGlobal.org
    Thanks for the review, Bruce. Like the one writer, if I had seen your review first, I would not have wasted any time on it. The missionary calling on the author’s life was compelling and exciting to me being a missionary myself, however, he should have stopped there in challenging people to get involved, and not try to be a theologian when he has not had sound biblical training to do so. I quit reading when he came out with that distortion of the gospel by adding to it. He needs to read the end of Revelation regarding the fate of those who add or subtract from God’s word,

  55. P. 5 “The whole gospel is a vision for ushering in God’s kingdom—now, not in some future time, and here, on earth, not in some distant heaven.” [A “Kingdom Now” gospel]

    Keep watching for more of this sort of thing. It’s the direction things are going. I’ve been trying to figure out what sort of Millennialism this is. Whatever it is, it is going to come to fit in with the globalist groups. And yes, World Vision is already there.

    (We just got our power back after Irene. I’m so happy! :))


  56. Thanks Jack and Pearl for your comments and your insights. And thanks, too, Marcella for sharing your experiences. I am saddened to hear of Pearl’s negative encounters with World Vision. I guess that, although they certainly do bring some relief worldwide, they should be considered a SECULAR organization, much like UNICEF, for one example. I must say that from reading Stearns’ book not once did I ever see the real Christian gospel. And no doubt the book was written, as Jack said, to kindle more guilt and greater giving to the organization. I guess that my second clue that the book was NOT going to be presenting Christian truth (my first indication was the title itself), was that two of the primary statements of “praise” came from former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and rock star Bono.

  57. Thanks for this, Bruce! I used to sponsor children through World Vision and Compassion International. After I read their false gospel messages, I prayed and knew I had to cancel my giving. It broke my heart to stop sponsoring those kids, but I have prayed for them. Pearl, it’s difficult to find any sound Christian organization. Keep giving to your local church and support your Pastor. The Pastors, who preach the gospel, need encouragement.

  58. In the early 90s, as a newborn babe in Christ myself, I supported a child through World Vision and was sickened to learn that while he was fed, he was still encouraged in his muslim faith. So much for World Vision’s “gospel”. They are also anti-Israel. Try sponsoring a jewish child whose home has been destroyed by terrorists – you’ll be hardpressed to find one.

    In fact, if any one here can suggest a truly biblical charitable organization, I’d sign up in a heartbeat. Compassion International has ties with the ecumenical beast as well.

  59. Bruce,

    Great post !!! Thanks for following up on World Vision and Stearns’ book (from prior comments in another post). Sorry you had to expose yourself to the lies perpetrated by Stearns in order to write it.
    Obviously he does not believe in “saved by Grace alone, by Faith alone in Christ alone”.. but is (and apparently has been) spreading the social gospel so prevalent in many denominations and churches (Catholic, Methodist, some Baptist, etc, etc). In those quotes we see him emulating MacArthur, Chan et al in a “new gospel” of their specialty, “commitment salvation” or “lordship salvation.”

    I also get a hint from the statements you quoted — and watching his heart rending TV ads — that his purpose is to lay a guilt trip on the “privileged class” presuming that no one is supporting his idea of “missions” enough. BUT World Vision is there to take your money and assuage your guilt. I suppose it is possible Stearns is helping some kids physically — but we see no testimony of Grace salvation through Jesus Christ in his messages.

    Thanks Bruce.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  60. Thanks John. Always good to hear from you.


  61. THANK YOU so much for the ‘heads up’ concerning this book. I had run across this book, but thanks to Your timely words, I will not waste my time.
    God bless! John G.